Cold are the people, winter of life.
We tremble in shadows this cold endless night,
frozen on the snow lie roses sleeping, flowers that will echo the sunrise,
first of hope is our only warmth, weary, its flame will be dying soon.
Voice in the distance, call in in the night,
on wind you enfold us, you speak of the light,
gentle on the ear you whisper softly, rumors of a dawn so embracing,
breathless love awaits darkened souls, soon we will know of the morning.
Spirit among us, shine like the star,
your light that guides shepherds and kings from afar,
shimmer in the sky so empty, lonely,
rising in the warmth of your Son’s love,
star unknowing of night and day,
Spirit we wait for your loving Son.
~ “Night of Silence” by Dan Kantor
In our handed-down generation-to-generation story we've been told that today they are still making their way. Very pregnant Mary and most-understandably, very anxious Joseph are still making their way to Bethlehem. By now, they must have been exhausted. They were probably hungry and bone-tired. I wonder if young Mary had been having animated and specific conversations with God. Likewise I wonder where Joseph found the faith and the strength to put one foot in front of the other. We are told they made their way from Galilee to Bethlehem, the city of David because Joseph had been summoned to pay his tax. Left foot, right foot. Almost there. Their journey is almost finished, but they are not yet there. Not yet.
"Not yet" have been two of our most faithful words. They hold the tension between what is just not right now and what is surely coming. These words hold expectation and hope. They hold discomfort and anticipation. They hold past and present and future. Our faith has deep roots in these words. Our stories reassure us that what we pray for is possible, that all things are possible. These two bridging words have gotten us to there-to-here and will surely lead us on.
Many of us are already singing the Christmas Carols. I know I am and have been for weeks now. The notion of singing "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" through almost the entire month of December does not seem humanly possible. But the truth is - We. Are. Not. There. Yet. Mary and Joseph are still making their way. Our work, our task, our practice for these long, cold December day is to wait.
Dan Kantor has written a beautiful piece, "Night of Silence." The longing and trembling weave together with images of what is promised: "rose," "sunrise," "light." Soon we will know of the morning, but not yet. We are still waiting with expectation and longing. We are still paying attention to what is all around us. We are still hoping beyond hope. As we wait and watch, we continue to listen for the melody of the songs we know by heart. We are bursting to sing them. Just. Not. Yet.